Chapter 23: Prithu Mahârâja Returns Back Home :
Slokam- 1 to 39.
(1-3) Maitreya said: 'King Prithu who fully conversant with everything concerning the soul as the protector of the people endlessly had promoted all that he had created, saw one day that he physically was getting old. Fully in accord with the instructions of the Supreme Ruler he in this world following the dharma of devotees, had provided for the maintenance of all the moving and nonmoving living beings. He left the earth to his sons and with pity towards his aggrieved citizens he alone with his wife went into the forest for his austerity. (4) As perfect as he formerly had been in his understanding when he conquered the earth, he at that place perfectly understood that he according to the rules and regulations of a retired life had to engage seriously in the practice of severe austerities.
(5) At first he so now and then ate bulbs, roots, fruits and dry leaves, then he drank only water for several fortnights and finally he only breathed the air. (6) Like the great sages do the hero tolerated during the summer the five fires [of the sun above and four fires in the four directions], in autumn the torrents of rain, in winter to be up to his neck submerged in water while he [all year long] slept on the bare earth. (7) Simply longing for Krishna he tolerated it to be without words, sensuality, the discharge of semen and the freedom of his life breath, and was thus of all possible practices of the best austerity. (8) Unrelenting keeping to the Perfection [of Krishna] he thus gradually got rid of all the dirt and desires of his workload, his karma, while he by means of breath control fully stopping his mind and senses broke with all that bound him. (9) [And so he,] the best of all human beings, with the very yoga the fortunate Sanat-kumâra spoke about concerning the ultimate goal of relating to the soul, worshiped the Supreme Personalty of Godhead. (10) With him as a devotee endeavoring with faith on the path of devotional service unto the Supreme Personality, the Lord who is [the origin of] the Spirit of the Absolute became his exclusive object of worship. (11) He who was perfectly alert in the constant remembrance of a purely transcendental mind found by these devotional activities unto the Supreme Lord the perfection of wisdom. Thus not attached to whatever one could call one's own, he became free from doubt and the material conception of life that covers the soul. (12) Free from desire and firmly convinced of the ultimate goal of the soul, he had given up on all other notions of life and transcendental knowledge, [for he realized that] as long as a practitioner of the yoga system in his renunciation is not attracted to the stories about the elder brother of Gada, Krishna [Gada was another son of Vasudeva younger than Krishna] he will not be free from illusion. (13) He, the best of the heroes fixing his mind upon the Supersoul, in due course of time thus thoroughly spiritually purified gave up his vehicle of time.
(14) By blocking his anus with his ankle he pushed up his life air gradually from the navel to the heart and from there upwards to the throat to fix himself [thereafter] between the eyebrows. (15) Thus step by step establishing his life breath in his head, he, freed from all material desires, merged his life breath with the complete of [the cosmic] breath, his body with the complete of the earth and his innerly fire with the fire of the complete [of the universe]. (16) After merging the different apertures of his body with the sky and his fluids with the waters and thus having merged everything with its source, [he next merged the departments] as they were divided: earth he merged with water, water with fire, fire with air and air with sky [compare 2.5: 25-29]. (17) He united the mind with the senses and the sense organs with their objects and next merged the sense objects with the five elements they had originated from. Then he returned the material ego to the mahat-tattva, the totality of the material energy. (18) On his path towards Him, the reservoir of all qualities, he placed his individuality and the lives belonging to it in the Reservoir of All Potencies and thus he, the living entity and enjoyer, as the master of the senses returned home, back to his constitutional position by dint of his insight in the spiritual knowledge of self-realization and renunciation.
(19) The queen named Arci, his wife, followed him on foot into the forest, even though she, with her delicate body, had not deserved it to contact the earth with her feet in that way. (20) Even though her body would turn lean and thin she, most determined as she was in her vow to serve her husband, saw no difficulty in living in conditions like those of the great saints and engaged with pleasure, happy to be in touch with him. (21) Seeing that the body of her husband who was of such a mercy for the world and for her, showed no signs of life, the virtuous woman after weeping a while cremated him on top of a hill. (22) After performing the funeral rites for her so very liberal husband she took a bath in the river and offered oblations of water in worship of the thirty million demigods in heaven. Three times circumambulating the fire she then, thinking of her husband's feet, entered the fire herself.
(23) The gracious gods and their wives who observed her following her husband into death, offered by the thousands prayers for the chaste wife of the great warrior King Prithu. (24) They on top of Mandara Hill showering flowers and to that occasion vibrating their musical instruments, spoke among themselves as follows. (25) The wives said: 'Oh how glorious this wife is who, just as the Goddess unto the Lord of Sacrifice [Vishnu], with heart and soul was of worship for her husband, the king of all the kings of the world. (26) Just see how she follows her chaste husband, the son of Vena, in his ascension and how she, who is named Arci, thus surpasses us by her difficult to conceive actions. (27) Among all the ones who but for a short moment live here in this human world, for those who on the path of liberation do their best for the Kingdom of God there is nothing too difficult to achieve. (28) He who having achieved the human form of life on the path of liberation gets involved in the great difficulties of all that one does for one's sense gratification in this world, is in going against his own true self no doubt cheated [by illusions].'
(29) Maitreya said: 'While Arci thus by the wives of the denizens of heaven was glorified, she reached the place for which the husband had left. It was the topmost position of the self-realized that the son of Vena under the protection of the Infallible One had attained. (30) I have thus described to you the character of Prithu, the first of the lords who was so high and mighty, as the very best in being endowed with all qualities. (31) Anyone who with faith and great attention reads and explains or hears about that very great and pious person of King Prithu, will attain the same position as he has reached. (32) The brahmin who reads it will attain spiritual splendor, a noble will become the king of the world, the trader will become the master of his trade and the laborer will attain the best unto Him. (33) When someone with great respect three times over listens to this that person, whether he is a man or a woman, when he is childless will have the best of children and when he is penniless will become the richest. (34) Without recognition he will become famous and illiterate he will become learned. This story so auspicious will drive away all bad luck of man.
(35) They who desire wealth, a good repute, an increased life span, a better world [heaven], the defeat of the influence of the Age of Quarrel and who are after the higher cause of the perfection of the four [civil virtues] of religion, economy, sensual pleasure and liberation, must listen with great respect to this narration. (36) The king listening to this who on his chariot campaigns for his victory, will receive taxes from other kings like King Prithu did. (37) When one freed from all other association, is of unalloyed devotional service unto the Supreme Lord, one must hear about, make others listen to and continue to read about the pious character of the son of Vena. (38) Oh son of Vicitravîrya [Vidura], I explained to you how one thus involved in relation to this extraordinary text, may awaken to the greatness for which one should strive.
(39) He who liberated in the association concerning the Supreme Lord with great reverence repeatedly listens to this narration about Prithu and also spreads it, will in full realize the attachment to His feet that constitute the boat for [crossing] the ocean of nescience.'